Letterhead


JUNE 10, 2009 minutes

MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT KELOWNA

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523
Shane Curveon, ATU 1722
David Porteous, UFCW 120
Glenn Nowag, UFCW 120
Jeff Carsience, UBCJA 1370
Carole Gordon, BCTF
Linda Thiel, HEU
Nikki Inouye, HEU Vernon
Carol Kenzie, HEU
Shawna Rand, HEU Vernon
Cheryl Stone , UFCW 1518
Boyd Sommerfeld, HEU

GUESTS
West Kmet, BCFORUM
Doug Gibson, BC FORUM
Brigid Kemp, South Okanagan Boundary Labour Council
Dora Stewart, BCFORUM
Orion Irvine, CLC Rep
Doris Janssen, CEP 823M
Jennifer Carsience
Karen Abramsen, UFCW 120 & BCFORUM

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Nowag at 7:00 p.m.

GUEST SPEAKERS: Dave Porteous, Trustee for NOLC re: WE services

CREDENTIALS REPORT
22 present with 14 delegates and 8 guests

OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES:
Karen Abramsen, UFCW 120 and Doris Janssen, CEP 823-M were affirmed as new delegates to our Council.

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
1. What constitutes a quorum in our Labour Council: The NOLC is in the process of updating the delegate and affiliates lists. Shawna Rand, Vice President, NOLC, has offered to spear head this project over the summer months and report back at our September 9, 2009 meeting. Orion Irvine, CLC Rep. offered to mail out a letter to all affiliates requesting updates from them as well. If any delegate has an address change, or information update, please email nolc.cstone@gmail.com or email directly to our website.

2. United Way Kick off breakfast -- A motion was made to purchase a table for 10 to attend the kick off breakfast of the United Way, Kelowna, in September, from NOLC. Also 2 breakfasts will be purchased for West Kelowna. The total contribution is $ 420.00. A donation to the Vernon United Way will be made in the same amount of $ 420.00. Delegates from the NOLC will be selected to attend the breakfast at our next meeting, September 9, 2009.

3. Protein for People business plan UFCW 1518 -- This project is an effective vehicle to support unemployed workers and underemployed workers and their families. With donations and support of B.C. Labour Councils this project will provide canned salmon to Food Banks in their areas. The business plan is being revealed at the AGM and salmon BBQ being held on Thursday, June 18, 2009, in New Westminster, B.C. at the CAW Hall, 326 12 Street, New Westminster. Brother Dave Porteous, Trustee, showed an interest to attend. Sister, Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, will investigate ways to bring this project to Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton and will report at the next NOLC meeting in September 2009. This is a terrific way of helping our local Food Banks when they are in desperate need, as well as achieving community recognition for our Labour Councils.

4. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B. C. -- Solutions Fund annual appeal: A motion was recommended by the Executive and made in the general meeting to donate $ 250.00 towards this cause. M/S/C

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT
Canadian Labour Congress - Regional Representative Report -- June 2009 by Orion Irvine
GET REAL! IT'S THE ECONOMY! Unemployment is up to 7.4% in BC (180,000 workers). Unemployment for all of Canada is 8% ( 1,464,600 workers). The number of workers in BC receiving EI benefits rose 26.7% (to 82,000) in March, compared to February. Most communities in BC have seen a huge increase in the number of workers receiving EI benefits from this time last year. Cranbrook - 213.3% increase, Kelowna - 201.8% increase, Pentiction - 213.3% increase, Kamloops - 111.5% increase, Vernon - 108.2% increase.
Statistics Canada data shows that almost 60% of unemployed workers are not receiving EI benefits. The CLC is continuing to call on the government to take greater action on the economic crisis. The federal government must:
-- Increase Employment Insurance benefits. Workers have paid billions into EI but benefits have been drastically reduced. The EI fund is running a huge surplus and should be used to improve access to benefits for unemployed workers.
-- Ensure that laid-off workers have access to training and adjustment programs.
-- Launch a major public investment program to create good jobs in infrastructure, manufacturing and public services, and link this program to a made-in-Canada procurement policy. Ensure that government contracts promote a strong public sector, unionization and inclusion of women and workers of colour in good jobs.
-- Provide a pension guarantee fund for workers' pensions. Even the United States has one. Phase in increases to the Canada and Quebec pension plans and immediately raise Old Age Security to protect retirees and reduce reliance on private pensions and RRSPs.
-- Invest directly in sector renewal strategies designed to save jobs and promote successful restructuring in hard-hit industries such as auto and forest products. Pursue strategies to support cultural industries, energy efficiency, renewable energy and other promising sectors.
-- Maintain equalization and other transfers to provinces and cities for public infrastructure, public services and social programs. The CLC, working with Labour Councils, are lobbying MPs on these issues. We are also holding rallies across Canada.
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE On May 25th, the Conservative government held a press conference to "announce" two EI initiatives. However, the only somewhat new items were additional details about two initiatives that were announced in the budget. The initiatives are for long service workers and have stringent a criterion attached to what a long service worker is:
-- someone who has worked in a job or industry for at least 7 of the last 10 years
-- someone who has paid at least 30% of the annual premium rate over that period of time
-- someone who has not received more than 35 weeks of regular benefits during the last 5 years. First initiative: Pilot Project #14 This allows a long service worker to collect 104 weeks of regular benefits (including the 2-week waiting period), if they take extended training of up to a year or two. Twelve of those 104 weeks could be paid to the individual after the training is complete so that they can look for work. (One week for every 5 weeks of training.) In order to be eligible, the course must be:
-- full time
-- more than 20 weeks in length
-- covered by Part II of the EI Act [Estimates are that it will cover 40,000 participants]
Second initiative: Modification of Article 36(9) of the EI Regulations: This allows long service workers to receive regular benefits sooner, if they want to invest all or a large proportion, of their severance pay in a training course. [This prevents the severance pay from being allocated at the start of his/her benefit period, but only if they fulfill the following 5 criteria.] Course must be:
full time -- 10 weeks or more
-- covered by Part II of the EI Act
-- cost at least $5,000 or 80% of the separation pay
-- enrolment in the course must be done during the weeks of allocation of the severance pay if the course is more than 20 weeks, the worker may also benefit from Pilot Project #14. [Estimate is that 5,000 to 10,000 workers may be affected by this initiative. Changes came into effect retroactively 25 January 2009 and will run until 29 May 2010.]
Work-sharing agreements -- As a result of the changes to this program in the 2009 budget, there has been an enormous increase in the number of work-sharing agreements coming through the Commissioners' offices. The Commissioners approve agreements that are worth $900,000 and more. One agreement in May was worth $13 million. At this point Commissioners approve an average of 5 or 6 per week, at times more. At the end of April, there were approximately 2,000 agreements across the country covering 80,000 workers at a cost of $327 million. (In the budget, the estimated cost of this part of the program was $200 million over 2 years.) Ontario, Quebec and BC have the most agreements. BC has 458 agreements covering 7,992 workers at a cost of $41.9 million. During the same period last year, the cost of the program was $27.7 million.
Delay in benefit payment EI intake is up 48.5% over last year. There have been 400 new hires in recent months and a further 400 in the coming weeks to keep up with the demand. Many offices have been functioning 7 days a week since the beginning of November to keep up with the heavy demand. We have heard that Service Canada staff is feeling very stressed and suffering from the very high workload.
The CLC's plan for EI The CLC is continuing its call for EI reform. We are calling on the government to:
-- change accessibility rules to provide regular EI benefits on the basis of 360 hours of work, no matter where people live and work in Canada
-- make all workers eligible for up to 50 weeks of EI benefits
-- raise benefits immediately to 60% of earnings calculated on a worker's best 12 weeks of earnings.
CFNU/CUPE/NUPGE: In May, the CLC held meetings between the parties. Following the meeting, the CLC requested that CFNU/BCNU cease all actions in which it is interfering in and seeking to disrupt the established bargaining relationships of other affiliates. The parties are in ongoing discussions and the CLC is encouraging the parties to reach a resolution.
AUDITS: Labour Councils are reminded that they are required as per their by-laws to undertake audits every year. If your council's audit is not up to date, please ensure that your trustees have a date scheduled in June or July to do an audit. If you require any assistance, have any questions or would like assistance with the audit, please contact me.

UFCW 1518 report given by Cheryl Stone:
Ivan Limpright, President of UFCW 1518 stated that UFCW 1518 has a diverse and unique membership with over 25,000 members who work in several industries including: Retail Foods, Commercial, Health Care, Industrial, and our latest addition, Farm Workers.
We welcome Shoppers Drug Mart members in Terrace, Island Trucking members from Vancouver Island, and our newest UFCW 1518 members, Farm Workers from Greenway Farms in Surrey.
It has been an exceptionally busy year with negotiations taking place for the major retail foods contract. After almost 9 months of negotiations, members employed with Save-On/Overwaitea and Safeway have now voted to ratify new 5-year contracts.
We've seen some great success in negotiations for other contracts within the union as well. Members employed with Buy-Low Warehouse, and Sunrise Poultry have recently ratified new contracts that provide them with wage increases, better benefits, and improved working conditions.
Union members at The Concorde in Penticton provided their Union Negotiating Committee with a 100% strike vote, which allowed them to negotiate and ratify a much-improved contract. Recently ratified contracts are: Canada Safeway, Save-On/Overwaitea, IGA, Coopers Foods, Stongs, Ucluelet Co-Op, Fernbrae Manor, Kelowna, Zellers-Brentwood Bay, Wal-Mart-St. Hyacynthe, Quebec
OLD DUTCH BOYCOTT UNDERWAY IN SUPPORT OF UFCW ALBERTA MEMBERS: The Canadian Labour Congress has endorsed a nation-wide boycott of products made by Old Dutch Snack Foods Ltd. The company locked out 170 members of UFCW Canada Local 401 in Calgary, Alberta on March 29, 2009. The collective agreement for these workers expired more than one year ago. This boycott will last until the company agrees to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.
In addition to all Old Dutch label items, the boycott includes the following brands:
President's Choice (Western Grocers)
No Name (Western Grocers)
Safeway Blue Bags (Safeway)
Cyclone (Overwaitea)
Co-op Krunchie (Co-op)
Great Value (Wal-Mart)
Compliments Value (Sobeys)

HEU report given by Carol Kenzie:
Carol Kenzie read an open letter to BCNU members sent June 2009, from HEU, BCGEU, UFCW 1518, CUPE BC, IUOP Local 882
Dear BCNU member:
Re: BCNU plans to sign up members of other health care unions
For decades, members of BCNU and other health care unions have worked side-by-side with a shared commitment to team work. Whether it is on the nursing unit, in the community, in joint health and safety and violence prevention committees, or by standing together in our commitment to achieve fair wages and working conditions, we have stood in solidarity with each other and in our commitment to patients.
We can also take a lot of pride in our combined efforts to mobilize community action through our work in the BC Health Coalition, and campaigns to stop the cutbacks and privatization in health care. Although we have had our differences at times, we have never lost sight of our collective goals. Our mutual dedication to provide the best care possible under challenging conditions and defend public Medicare for the benefit of all has always taken priority.
Despite a long history of working together as sister unions, the BCNU leadership has launched a full-scale campaign to move members of our unions, starting with those in the Facilities and Community Health subsectors, into the BCNU. The BCNU leadership is targeting LPNs right now, but they have also been clear that they have got a wide range of unionized health care workers in their sights, including care aides, unit clerks, ambulance paramedics and even doctors.
As you know, we work in a high pressure environment where health care workers must rely on each other to deliver quality care as a cohesive nursing unit. These latest actions by the BCNU directly undermine collaborative nursing practice, professionalism and team work. They create unnecessary disruption, divisiveness and uncertainty among colleagues. We would urge you not to participate in this campaign to sign up members of other unions as BCNU associate members.
In terms of the broader labour movement, there are significant consequences to BCNU's attempts to raid other unions' members.
Raiding -- which occurs when one union tries to take members away from another union -- undermines solidarity, weakens the labour movement and drains resources. Instead of wasting money and time fighting each other, we could be using our resources in working together to protect public health care and improve senior care.
On February 17, 2009, HEU and BCGEU filed raiding charges under Article 4f, Section 5, of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) constitution against BCNU through their national unions (CUPE and NUPGE)
On May 14, 2009, Ken Georgetti, President of CLC, wrote Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions president Linda Silas stating:
It became clear with the publication of advertisements in B.C. news papers on May 13, 2009, and from statements at the meeting by the BCNU representative (held May 13, 2009), that the BCNU was preparing to undertake actions that would be in violation of Article 4, Section 5, of the CLC constitution.
I am, therefore, directing that the CFNU-BCNU cease all actions in which it is interfering in and seeking to disrupt the established bargaining relationships of other affiliates.
Despite this direction from the CLC president, BCNU has continued and in fact, escalated its actions. If the BCNU continues to fail to comply with the CLCs directive to cease these actions, BCNU representatives may be barred from participating in CLC, B.C. Federation of Labour and local Labour Council activities. The BCNU could eventually face expulsion from these labour bodies.
That is the price that the leadership of the BCNU appears to be willing to pay in order to pursue their plans to boost BCNUs Non-RN membership. But in our view, such an outcome would be a loss for both the labour movement and for committed union activists in the BCNU.
If you believe we should be working in the spirit of unity, we encourage you to contact your leadership to voice your concerns.
In Solidarity,
Hospital Employees Union,
BC Government and Service Employees Union,
United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1518,
CUPE British Columbia,
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882

CEP 2000, Pat Bulmer:
Kelowna Daily Courier publisher Alison Yesilcimen announced today that she is resigning effective July 31, 2009. Our composing room has just begun a reduced work week-EI program. Members agreed to work 4 days a week with the 5th on EI to prevent layoffs.

BCTF #23, Carole Gordon:
New Executive for next year:
President -- Alice Rees
1st Vice President -- Michelle Davies
2nd Vice President -- Carole Gordon
Pro-D Chair -- Jessica Martin
As a result of the election, current President Tom Potts will be retiring at the end of June 2009. He will be missed by all. The COTA would like to thank the NOLC for its support of the BCTF Regional Social Justice Conference held on May 1st, 2009. We had about 150 people in attendance including six MLA candidates.

CEP Local 823-M - report of Jim Failes, President,- reported by new delegate to NOLC, Doris Jansson.
Tension over the uncertain future of CHBC-TV nearly reached a breaking point this month. Left without programs to air this fall, CHBC (along with CanWest Global's other four secondary network stations) is now completely dependent on would be buyers for its survival. With the purchase process proceeding in secrecy, employees are left to wonder and worry about their futures. The level of concern was obvious at an all-staff meeting June 3, 2009, with frustrations loudly voiced between employees and CHBCs General Manager. How much longer can this go on, according to the GM, perhaps until the end of the month?
In a brief follow up meeting June 4th, 2009, we were told that good news seemed a bit closer. There were no details; which leads us to the most important of the many unanswered questions: what will a new owner do with us. Meanwhile the same week, Company and Union representatives gathered in Vancouver, convened by the Canada Industrial Relations Board to settle inclusions and exclusions for the newly-created B.C., Bargaining Unit. In two days of negotiating, a tentative agreement was reached that will see a considerable majority of disputed positions swept into the Union; at CHBC five out of six disputed positions will be included. In other news, the ongoing initiative to merge our Local with several others from CanWest sister stations is temporarily on hold, awaiting news on CHBC's purchase.

ATU 1722, Shane Curveon:
A new Executive Board has been elected and takes office on July 1, 2009.
President - Lloyd Hooper (new to board)
Vice President -- Al Peressini
Maintenance -- Eric Sollard (new to board)
Financial Secretary -- Art Peddle (new to board)
FT Conventional Rep 1 -- Shane Curveon
FT Conventional Rep 2 -- Rose Knoll
FT Conventional Rep 3 -- Scott Lovell (new to board)
Handy Dart Rep 1 -- Darcy Kleiman
Handy Dart Rep 2 -- Tremain Frantze
B.C. Transit will be speaking at the Regional District of the Central Okanagan meeting on June 11, 2009 about transit between Vernon and Kelowna. We are encouraging our members to attend as a show of support as this is a contentious issue with our Local.
Five driver assaults in the last two months, many more instances of driver assaults threatened. City, Company and Union have met. The City seems reluctant to address the issue.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1 - NOLC By-Laws update. A notice of motion was given on the following changes: M/S/C
Add a section 3.06 "3.06 The BC Federation of Retired Union Members (BCFORUM) shall be entitled to membership as an affiliated organization upon application by BC Forum and payment of a $10.00 annual application fee, and shall be entitled to two delegates. BCFORUM delegates shall have the same rights as CLC Officers, Directors, and staff, that is, the right to speak but not to vote or to run for regular Officer/Executive positions with the exception of the BCFORUM Executive member position"
Amend 5.1 to read "5.1 The Officers of the Council shall consist of a President, three (3) Vice-President(s), Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, two (2) Executive Members, one (1) each from the North and Central Okanagan and one BCFORUM Executive Member. The BCFORUM Executive Member shall have voice but no vote.
Amend 5.2 to read "5.2 Each Officer shall be a member in good standing of an affiliated organization. The BCFORUM Executive Member must be a BCFORUM delegate"
Amend 11.01 to read "11.01 The Executive Council shall consist of the President, three (3) Vice- President(s), Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, the two (2) Executive Members and the BCFORUM Executive member."
2 - We still need to fill two positions on our Executive Board. Attending delegates were asked if anyone would like to assume the position of Vice President and/or Trustee. There were no volunteers at this meeting so we will forward this request to our September 9th meeting.
3 - Kids Camp 2009 report -- Dave Porteous, Trustee, NOLC, turned in the entries from the many interested children wanting to attend the Silver Lake, Silver Lake Forestry and Camp Jubilee Camps. Orion Irvine drew the names of the lucky winners and the alternates, should the winner not be able to attend. Winners were announced at the meeting and will be contacted.

NEW BUSINESS:
1. Reminder that the BCFORUM person who wishes to be on the NOLC Executive Board, with voice but no vote, and the second BCFORUM person, who wishes to represent the BCFORUM as a delegate to this Labour Council, should call the BCFORUM and submit their names and BCFORUM will get back to NOLC. This will be further discussed at our September 9, 2009 meeting.
2. Current dispute between HEU and BCNU: As per the above report by Carol Kenzie, HEU, it was moved, second and carried among the delegates attending this meeting, that the NOLC send a letter to Ken Georgetti, President, CLC, regarding this issue with hopes of a speedy resolution for the rank and file members of the HEU. A letter will be mailed within the next week or so by this NOLC regarding this matter and discussed at the September 9, 2009 meeting. M/S/C
3. A motion was made on the floor that the NOLC send a letter to Tom Potts, President, BCTF 23, congratulating him on his retirement. M/S/C.
FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT
22 total with 17 delegates and 5 guests

GOOD AND WELFARE
Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary thanked the NOLC for their recommendation for her to be on the EI Board of Referees. Cheryl Stone will serve from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2012.
Karen Abramsen, made an announcement that the Okanagan Jazz & Blues Society is holding their first Jazz & Blues Festival here in Kelowna at the Island Stage, Kelowna Waterfront Park, called PICNIC IN THE PARK, on Saturday July 4th 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday July 5th 10 am to 8 pm. Mayor Sharon Shepherd will announce a proclamation to make this an annual event in Kelowna. Please visit www.okanaganjazzblues.org website for more information.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at approximately approximately 8:45 pm. The NOLC Summer social began shortly after the meeting with all remaining to have a good time.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518,

NEXT MEETING: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at the NOLC office, 201-1358 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Go back to News & Notes

PreviousHomeNext